Thursday, August 29, 2013


This journal piece, with the theme of "intersections", was created in the spirit of play…piece some scraps together, stitch in some intersecting lines, and bleach out some line sections. My intent was to get a look at some of the color intersections of the bleached out fabric, but they turned out to be quite subtle, and not of great significance (to me).  The line pattern I chose was random and after it was all completed it reminded me of the boardwalks here at Refuge Cove, crisscrossed with timbers to strengthen them as they span across the moss covered rocks and scrub vegetation.
This piece really didn’t evoke much inside of me…there’s not a story attached to it for memories or significance, and the visual outcome wasn’t up to my expectations. It was just one more journal quilt I could check off of the list, and sometimes (not often, thankfully) that’s as good as it gets.
But it goes on.
I am in the midst of writing up a publishing proposal for my book Signs of Life: Techniques and Ideas for Including Signage and Script in Your Fiber Art. My goal is to have it completed and delivered by the time I leave Canada on September 10th. Currently I have quite a bit completed but I am trying to include many examples of my work which relates to the theme of this book. So a few days ago I decided to put together a “title page” and all of a sudden realized I was heading off in the same direction as my journal quilt on “intersections”. While in the middle of construction, I secretly was hoping that I would be happier with the outcome.
That thought must have been happening just as I was free-motioning the word script, because when I took a look at what I had written, it said “scrupt”. #*^$#%&(()!  And double %@@%*I! So I tore out the stitches, not that carefully, re-stitched the word, and continued working until it was completed. Hmmm…my personal jury is still out on this one, but it definitely follows the idea of its predecessor, “Intersections”. I haven’t decided if I will use this piece or not because it doesn’t follow the theme of the pieces I have created in the book…yes, it shows the signage and script part, but doesn’t include one of my whimsical birds. Hmmm…more decisions. (And there’s definitely a minor flaw on the “scrupt” repair.)
So... it is what it is. We'll see where it all goes.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


Quilt journal time...the theme was wisdom. This was inspired by a visit to my archival tub of old pieces and fabrics.
This piece was found in the depths of my tub of old pieces.
I came upon a finished piece that I had for sale at the Cortes Craft Shop many years ago. I had stamped (using bleach product) one of my favorite sayings on it (full of wisdom!) and when I saw it, I wondered how I could use it for a quilt journal. At 20”x20”, it didn’t quite fit my size format. Should I cut out the words and attach them to another piece? Or start with a new piece?
The 2013 version...another quilt journal piece completed!
I had recently dyed what I call “moon” pieces, and decided I would free-motion stitch these wise words to the center of a sandwiched moon piece. After bleaching out the letters, I filled them in with a permanent blue pen. This was an easy one, bearing a message full of wisdom.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


When I'm talking about my process and mention "bleach product", some people think I'm actually talking about pure BLEACH. The products I use contain SOME bleach. These commercial products are found in the cleaning section of the grocery store and are thickened solutions that are used for cleaning sinks or toilets. They are much thicker than liquid bleach and much less caustic to the skin or respiratory system. "Soft Scrub with Bleach" is my product of choice for most of the work I do, but I also use "Clorox Bleach Pens". When in Canada, I will buy "Vim with Bleach". A thinner product that I might use for rolling over a stamp or soaking a fish net in for printing is "Clorox Toilet Bowl Cleaner with Bleach". The "with bleach" part is what's important as that's what pulls the color out of your fabric. The consistency is another important factor as it needs to lie inside the stitch lines without bleeding out.
I always date my bottles. Right now I'm working out of my 2011 bottle (above) and all is good, but if I noticed that application was difficult (which happens when bleach breaks down), I'd get myself a new bottle and sequester the old one to the bathroom or the kitchen.

When I first started working with bleach product in 2008, I was using a small, stiff-bristled brush. It was slow and tedious, but I could paint the bleach product within the stitch lines with some precision. Then I tried putting the product in a small, metal-tipped bottle and I've never looked back. It flows out easily with little squeezing pressure and it's quite easy to control. There are some applications issues to watch out for, but that will be the topic of another blogpost.
It's important to shake the original product well before putting it into the small bottle. I fill it to the top, push the applicator tip on, then slip a pin into the tip to keep it from flowing out.

I then cut a small piece of foil and wrap my bottle to keep the light out. Light breaks down bleach and if left out, you will find the bleach becomes stringy and causes lots of problems. (Time to wash a sink with it!) I then store it in a spice bottle I have wrapped with masking tape...a further light barrier!
"Clorox bleach pens" contain a good product but I always transfer the product into my smaller bottle.
A few years back we flew to Mexico for our winter's stay. I packed a suitcase of dyes, soda ash, urea, etc., and one of the products I brought along was my "Soft Scrub". Sadly it was confiscated at the airport as a hazardous material, and I quickly called a friend who was driving over the border and asked her to bring me a bottle. The next year I had saved an empty opaque bottle of shampoo just to haul my "Soft Scrub" and it successfully arrived with me in Mazatlan.

Friday, August 16, 2013


I was a child of the 50's and 60's and ironing was one of my chores as a young girl: sheets, pillowcases, hankies, shirts and anything else my mom put in the basket for me. I didn't exactly love to do it, and now,  given a choice, I prefer easy-care items that I can shake out from the dryer, perhaps do a bit of smoothing or finger pressing, and it's good to go. But hand-dyes? I love to iron my hand-dyes. The colors and patterns just pop out from their previous semi-interesting, wrinkled wad of potential.

So today was my ironing marathon for the basket of semi-interesting wads of potential that I created at our retreat last weekend. I had washed them and hung them on the line to dry, so to get best results, I had my spray bottle along to dampen them for best results.

So many pieces, not enough time!

Sunday, August 11, 2013


Three of my Cyber Fibre peers- Terry, Dawn, and Barb, came over to Refuge last weekend for our annual three day "dye fest". We took over my studio, surrounding area, the yard and bushes for sessions oozing with fun and creativity. We played with dyes and cotton and dyeing paraphenalia (sounds like drugs...yes, I'm addicted to dyeing!) to create a beautiful collection of new fabrics to use in our compositions.
The weather was beautiful...almost too hot. My friends slept in the "Hope House" located down by the docks and enjoyed the view and ambience, but hated how hot that place was at night. My studio is open air but well covered (shaded) so it wasn't too bad. We used the bushes and lawn to dry our pieces.

On day#2, my friend Suzie joined us. She and her husband charter a boat every summer and spend two weeks in Desolation Sound. A while back, she asked to join us and I was excited to have her as part of the gang. Suzy is an amazing calligrapher and has done quite a bit of work on fabric. She and my friends really hit it off.
Here are the techniques we played with: tree bark rubbings, reflection pieces, bubble wrap prints,deconstructive screening, cross-over dyeing, "dark, light, 1,2,3", using leftover dyes, fractured folds, wine bottle wraps, credit card smears, moon dyes, vaseline freckles, tray dyeing, cedar bough printing, rust dyeing, clamping, plastic paintbrush wraps,lace pressing, using cheesecloth, stamping, using and filter wraps.  We also collectively painted a white sock doll, sent to Barb from her Aussie friend. By the end of our three days together, she was cute and colorful, all ready for some of her own dyeing fun with her own paintbrush. She started out as "Thelma" but before long she was renamed Lady Dye.
I can't wait to see what we all will produce with our beautiful new fabrics.

Thursday, August 1, 2013


Yes, today is my 200th blog! Also, it's August 1st, and I am wondering where the summer has gone, and how in the world did I get to #200 on this blogsite?????
I promised to post my "storm at sea" one-piece wonder. Here it is! How fitting, as last night we had the most amazing electrical storm here at Refuge Cove (and in surrounding areas). It lasted over 2 hours and was a SLOW buildup, allowing us to sit out and experience it for over an hour before the heavy thunder and rains came. Beautiful!
Upcoming: 3rd annual Cyber Fibres Retreat (this weekend!)...stay tuned!